What is the Amazon Echo?
The Amazon Echo is the first hands-free vocal recognition speaker. It is powered by its wake word, "Alexa." It has the capability to play music from Amazon, Spotify, or Pandora. The Echo can call Domino's, Uber, set multiple alarms, turn on lights, open garage doors, change the thermostat, give news updates or weather, order and track Amazon purchases, create a to-do list, act as a search engine, and much more!
How does it work?
When the user says, "Alexa," the speaker lights up blue ready for its command, and starts recording the voice. The voice is then transmitted through sound waves until it is sent to the Amazon Web Services, which help it develop a response. It is listening all the time for the wake word, but Amazon has assured everyone that it is not recording any other conversations.
What can it do to help improve your home?
In just two years, the Echo has become the largest purchase for smart home devices on the market. Amazon has paired with numerous companies that help the Echo be compatible with different appliances around the house. They have teamed up with Samsung to make a voice activated smart fridge, Almond Smart Home Wifi Routers to create a router with over double the power of a regular one, Phillips to produce voice activated color changing light bulbs, and many more!
How was it originated?
In 2014, Amazon released the first model of the Echo. Its purpose was to be the first working replica of the futuristic technology in movies such as Star Trek. They chose "Alexa" to be the wake word because the distinct sound of the "X" would make it easier to identify. Although you can change it to "Echo" or "Amazon," the default remains "Alexa." Later, in 2016, Amazon launched the "Dot" which is the exact same as the "Echo," but the size of a hockey puck.
How does the Echo adapt to you?
The more often that you use the Echo, the more it adapts to your speech patterns. It can recognize the way you talk, which words you use, and how you say them. For example, it can adapt to some accents over time.